Step Canyon & Pine Canyon Loop

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Step Ruin
A nice little ruin hidden in Step Canyon.

On Wednesday morning Jared and I woke up with the sun, broke down camp and then hopped into my Jeep so we could drive a little further down the Mormon Trail to begin our hike. Today we would be hiking a loop starting in Step Canyon and following it down to the confluence with Pine Canyon which we then planned to hike up to complete the loop. Hiking down through Step Canyon was pretty easy with only a few obstacles that we had to get around, but as soon as we reached Pine Canyon we found that much of the canyon bottom was either full of water or slick mud and in order to get around those sections we had to deal with bushwhacking through thick vegetation. I’m sure if the canyon were dry it would have been an easy hike, but it was not too much fun today.

I was anticipating this hike being about 8-9 miles in length, but apparently I was way off on my estimate and by the time we completed the loop we ended up hiking about 13 miles and were pretty exhausted. Here are a few photos from the loop.

A view over to Moss Back Butte as we hiked across the top of Cedar Mesa.

Moss Back Butte

Storage cists with a couple of pictographs above. Jared spotted this pictograph from below as we hiked through the canyon.

Storage & Art

A closer look at the pictograph above the cists.

Sideways Guy

Part of a cowboy camp we came across.

Cowboy Camp

There were plenty of historic relics inside the storage box.

Historic Relics

I spotted these colorful pictographs on the ceiling of the alcove.

Colorful Pictographs

A nice panel of petroglyphs at the bottom of a large boulder.

Boulder Petroglyphs

There were a whole bunch of large corncobs at one of the sites.

Corncobs

There were petroglyphs scattered on many of the boulders in this area.

Ruin & Rock Art

These petroglyphs are located on the top of a large boulder. Without a polarizing filer I would not have been able to photograph them at all.

Boulder Top Petroglyphs

Jared explores some ruins.

Exploring

Bottom of A Boulder

This anthropomorph seems to be missing it’s head…

Headless

Follow the Leader

Looking down into Step Canyon.

Step Canyon

Just a few pottery sherds…

Potsherds

Hiking up Pine Canyon.

Pine Canyon

A large complex of ruins we saw but were unable to climb up to.

Pine Complex

Sun - Shadow

An interesting round structure built with long vertical slabs of rock at the bottom.

Pine Room

Climbing out of Pine Canyon to hike cross-country back to my Jeep. It was trickier than I thought it would be to find a way out of the canyon here, but after a lot of searching we managed to find a way out.

Leaving the Canyon

Retunring back to my Jeep at the end of the hike with the Bear’s Ears in the background.

End of A Hike

We were pretty wiped out and hungry after the hike so we drove straight to Blanding and ended up having burgers at the Patio Drive-In for dinner since they weren’t as busy as some of the other places in town (though we still had to wait in line for a while to place our orders). Our original plan for Thursday was to climb Mount Peale in the La Sal Mountains, but at this point I wasn’t feeling the greatest and suggested we find something easier around Moab to hike instead.

I had planned on camping along the La Sal Pass Road this evening since we were going to climb Mount Peale in the morning, but even though we had changed those plans it still seemed like the most convenient place to camp between Monticello and Moab this evening. We made our way to La Sal and easily found a place to camp low on the road to La Sal Pass and quickly got to sleep.

>> Step Canyon & Pine Canyon Loop Photo Gallery


3 Comments

  1. David December 4, 2016 10:57 am  Reply

    Wow, those historic artifacts in the cowboy camp look so perfectly arranged and so perfectly nostalgic that they hardly look real! Like a tableau someone would arrange in a museum or something, especially how they are all sort of sticking out of the oats. That’s really cool.

    The rest of the hike looks really scenic too. Thanks for sharing. By the way, your sunset pictures from Owl Creek Pass from 1 October were spectacular!

  2. Kyle December 28, 2016 8:35 am  Reply

    Hey Randy,

    Came across this and wanted to let you know that I was able to climb up to those ruins in Pine. There’s a Kiva up top with an intact roof, although very delicate. Some small pictographs too.

    • Randy Langstraat December 28, 2016 11:39 am  Reply

      I’ve seen photos of the kiva, but unfortunately I’ll most likely never be able to see it in person with my lack of climbing abilities.

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